The Los Angeles Rams need a win to keep up in the division with the 5-0 Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers desperately need victory to stay relevant in the Wild Card race (8:20pm ET Sunday, live on NBC).
The Rams are 4-1 after easily dispatching the Washington Football Team last week. All four of their wins have come against the worst division in all of football, the NFC East (Least). They handled Washington 30-10, limped past the Giants 17-9, dominated the Eagles 37-19 and beat the Cowboys 20-17 in week one.
The Niners lost their second straight game and are now in last place in the division at 2-3. Their only two wins have come at MetLife Stadium against the Giants and the Jets. Both teams have yet to get into the win column and look poised for a top three pick in next year’s draft.
Divisional games are always more competitive, but the Rams are the superior and more healthy team entering week 6. This is an extremely important game for both teams.
The biggest storyline for the 49ers is the injury plagued defensive side of the ball, which has made for a lackluster unit. Last season the defense was the strongest aspect of the team, but that is not the case so far this season. They have lost several key starters for the season and a few others are out, but hope to return eventually.
This week they will be without Nick Bosa (knee, IR), Dee Ford (back, IR) Solomon Thomas (knee, IR), Ziggy Ansah (arm, IR), Kwon Alexander (ankle, OUT), Richard Sherman (calf, IR), K’Waun Williams (knee, IR), Dontae Johnson (groin, OUT). That is a plethora of starters, veteran leaders, and arguably their most explosive defender Nick Bosa.
These injuries make it extremely difficult for the San Francisco 49ers to make stops and compete. They rank 18th in the NFL giving up an average of 24.8 points per game. Outside of holding the Jets to 13 points and the Giants to 9 points they have been getting exposed in large part due to all the starters missing. In week four they gave up 25 points to Philly and last week they surrendered 43 to the Dolphins. They have not been able to generate nearly as much pressure with their pass rush this season and only average 2.0 sacks per game. Last season they averaged 3.4 sacks per game, which was good enough to have them ranked 3rd in the NFL.
Another injury to keep an eye on is starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He has been dealing with a nagging ankle issue. He was a full participant in practice this week but how effective can he be with a bad ankle? The Rams rank 2nd in the NFL averaging 4.0 sacks per game and star defensive tackle Aaron Donald leads the league with 7.5 sacks so far this season. Garoppolo being hobbled won’t allow him to escape the pocket, which could spell disaster for him and the Niners. If he is under duress for most of the game they will struggle to move the ball and ultimately won’t be able to score enough points to keep up with the LA Rams.
Expect Aaron Donald to be in the backfield causing havoc for much of the game. I expect several sacks by him alone and a couple of turnovers, which will set up the offense in advantageous spots. LA only give up an average of 18.0 points per game, which ranks third in the NFL.
Our Betting Preview’s Rams at Niners Predictions & Picks Verdict
USAbetting is going with the LA Rams as a three-point road favorites with the chief sportsbooks for those from the States. We think with all the injuries on San Francisco, the Rams will be able to move the ball with ease and score at will. The Rams average 27.2 points per game and I expect that to continue against a defense that can’t get pressure on the quarterback and a secondary without several key players.
Look for Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp to both have strong performances and the Rams will cover this number with ease. Kupp leads the team in receptions and yards. One trend that points to the Rams is Kyle Shanahan’s ineptitude at home. In his career he is 9-17-1 against the spread at home.
So, to conclude this NFL matchup preview, this is the advised betting pick for our LA Rams vs 49ers predictions: